Sunday, August 15, 2010
THE KANSA FILINT HILLS
Ghost Rider's Saddle, Central Kansas
Flint Hills Pond, Central Kansas
The Flint Hills in central Kansas are home to America’s last tall grass prairie which was recently set aside as a national preserve to assure its future. The bluestem prairie grasses are the green gold and life blood of these hills and home to thousands of grazing cattle. Limestone rim rocks outline the wind and storm exposed hill tops as you gaze across the landscape. The skies above are a vast canvas that can be a motionless blue from horizon to horizon at one minute and boiling thunderheads in the next. Red tail hawks ride the updrafts and circle the land in search of small prey and deceptively fast prairie chickens cruise in formation on their way to grain fields or daytime resting grounds. Cottonwood trees line the small rocky streams that meander through the draws and natural valleys at the bottom of these silent prairie sentinels. Fossilized remains of an abundant ocean life linger just under the surface and in the limestone rocks and stream beds to remind the casual visitor of the vast inland sea that once covered the land. After the water receded, Native American Indians such as the Osage and the Kansa, known as the people of the south wind, roamed and hunted vast buffalo herds that thrived on the tall grasses. Later, seasoned cowboys would watch after Texas longhorns on their talented horses. It was said that they could ride across acres of moonless pasture land on a stormy, cloudy night and hit the home gate to the safety of their ranch house.